Many thanks to Vanessa Robertson for suggesting this book for the advent calendar. The advent calendar thus far has had only a cursory mention of Jill - or to be more accurate, Black Boy, and not even him, his day rug. The day rug crops up again here, because it's one of Jill's Christmas presents in the first Jill story, Jill's Gymkhana.
Some pony books shoot through Christmas at a rate of knots, but in Jill's Gymkhana you get an entire chapter titled Christmas.
While writing this, I've changed my mind and am going to focus on a different bit of the chapter, as I have covered Black Boy's day rug every year I've done this calendar. Why? Why am I obsessed by this?
So, here is the scene where Ann says there are other things in life other than pony books. Ann, being super organised, has already given Jill a present (yellow riding gloves), and Jill is mortified as she had not even thought of giving Ann anything. However, Mrs Crewe comes to the rescue with a signed copy of her latest book.
"After dinner we cleared away and I washed up while Mummy wrote one or two thank-you letters, because if you don't do these in the first flush of enthusiasm you can't think what to say and even forget what the person sent you.
I had hardly finished when Ann arrived. She had got one of her little sisters with her, riding on a new tricyle, and Ann had to see that she didn't fall off or twist her ankles or do any of the dire things that her mother thought she might do.
To my surprise Ann was quite thrilled with the 'Winnie' book, and couldn't get over the fact that Mummy had written it. She said she would start reading it as soon as she got home and was sure she would love it as it would be a nice change from pony books.
I am quite tempted now to follow Mrs Crewe's lead and search out the fluffiest, gooiest children's books I can find to finish off this advent calendar.
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